STAFF UNIONS IN LAGOS TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS GIVE CONDITION TO END STRIKE
Striking staff unions in Lagos State owned tertiary institutions on Wednesday gave the Babatunde Fashola led-administration conditions to call off the seven1-day industrial action which has paralyzed academic and administrative activities.
The staff unions stated their position during a press briefing at the Senate Chambers of the Lagos State University (LASU) to intimate parents and the public on their reason for the strike. Addressing newsmen, the chairmen of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) vowed to continue the strike until government met their demands.
Speaking under the aegis of the Joint Action Committee (JAC), the SSANU Chairman, Funmi Sessi said since the strike started on September 30 and the state government had not bothered to invite the unions or respond to their demands.
According to her, the silence of the state government on the industrial action, which had paralyzed the four state owned tertiary institutions was an indication of Fashola administration's insincerity to the staff unions' demands and the effect on students.
Her words: 'It was glaring that the Lagos State government is not sincere about the implementation of the signed agreement but rather has been paying lip services to improving tertiary education in Lagos State.
'Lagos State being the centre of excellence and the highest Internally Generated Revenue base the state should replicate excellence in the educational sector particularly in the tertiary institutions. It should be noted that this action would continue until all our demands are met.'
The Chairman of ASUU LASU, Dr. Kabir Akinyemi used the occasion to explain why hismembers were on strike, which was the refusal of the state government to honour the ASUU/Federal Government of 2009 agreement, which set the benchmark for the operation of universities in the country. Dr. Akinyemi revealed that the agreement essentially addressed the issues of condition of service, funding, autonomy and academic freedom noting 'the current strike is a struggle meant to beat the Lagos State government back in line on all these issues and not just one meant to implement 53.37 per cent of salary increase.'
The ASUU boss said from the actions of the Fashola administration, it was clear the government never intended to honour the agreement which he stressed had been implemented by over 70 per cent of state universities and wondered why a state like Lagos with the highest IGR could not pay the workers demands.
The Lagos State Polytechnic Chairman of ASUP, Mr. Arowolo Olatunji appealed to the National Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Bisi Akande to intervene in the face off but however ,alleged that the government was using the state resources to fight election in some South -west states.
Olatunji warned the government not to use the state resources for politics but charged Governor Fashola to fund education like was done by Alhaji Lateef Jakande by providing required facilities to improve the welfare of staff.